Painting a Custom Backdrop|Trina Baker Photography

While rummaging through a closet in my home studio I came across a large roll of canvas. The idea came to me that I should paint a custom backdrop for my portrait studio. Even though I have a B.F.A. in painting I had never embarked upon painting a backdrop. After a bit of research on google,  I gathered my tools and got to work.

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First I taped down a sheet of plastic to protect the floor, a drop cloth, which I later removed, and my canvas. Then I began to prime my canvas with gesso. A lot of people skip this step but I could only hear my college professor Mr. Wright scolding me for not priming my canvas. Gesso sizes and primes the canvas for paint. It ‘s an extra step but will save you time and paint in the long run.

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The next step was to paint a brown base coat. I rolled this on in one coat. My goal was to build up thin layers of paint to have them show through one another.

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I wanted to and some lighter colors, grey, peach, yellows and whites to give it some luminosity. I found these little jars of paint at our local Habitat Resale store for 50 cents a piece in a variety of colors that were perfect for this project. I then began to roll them on in a criss cross pattern. Tip: Get yourself an extension pole. It will save your back.

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So so after a lot of rolling out paint I decided to let it dry and add more layers the next day.

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I did did not like all the harsh lines that were left from the roller so I decided to add some watered down paint layers with a large sponge. I then began just swirling the paint until it became more painterly yet soft.

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I am quite happy with the result.! I can’t wait to use it on a shoot this weekend to see how it will look in photos. I have enough canvas for another backdrop. What color should it be?

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